I LOVE the idea of having chickens! And a groovy little hen house near the garden. My neighbors, Kim and Tim Doherty, have recently started a little backyard flock, and they are building a gypsy wagon coop. If this keeps up, we may have a Norcross Coop Tour next year!
For now, let’s follow along on Kim and Tom’s chick adventure.
from Tom . . . “We have friends who live in Dawsonville; they have quite an array of neat pets, including chickens. They are so cute and fun to watch and after they share some of the delicious eggs with us, we were hooked. For us, the eggs were like comparing white bread to a home baked grain bread. Last year, when the City of Norcross passed its new Chicken ordinance, we could finally move forward and make plans to acquire our own mini flock.
This is our first time having chickens; a lot of research has been done via various forum groups, the best being BackYardChickens.com. You can’t be too prepared!
We ordered our chicks from a Hatchery (MyPetChicken.com) that allows you to order as few as 6 chicks and most importantly, 1 per breed as we wanted a nice assortment of colorful, well-tempered and friendly chickens that also lay variety of colorful eggs. This Hatchery also has the ability to determine the sex of the chicks when they are just hatched. This was also very important as we didn’t want any Roosters nor is it allowed per the ordinance.
The chicks were hatched on a Monday morning, the sex was determined and they were all put in a poultry shipping box which was picked up by USPS Animal Express @ 2:00PM that afternoon. At 11:00 AM the next morning, I picked the chicks up at the Post Office.
Baby Chicks are remarkable, for the first 3 days of their lives, they are very resilient! They are still living off of the yolk and can survive quite well. By day 4, everything changes and they must be able to regulate their body temperature to 95 degrees by use of a heat lamp or what we did by building a little cave covered by a heating pad. The chicks are then able to move about, going into and out of the “brood” to get warmer or cooler. The need for high temps generally reduces by 5 degrees per week of their lives.
Upon arrival, I put them in a simple brooder that I had built. After taking them out of the box, they immediately started pecking and looking for food. I took one chick and showed her what water was, then a second chick. After that, all the others saw and went on their own to take their first drink. It was fun to see how quickly they all caught on.
The Chicks are now 1 week old and they have more than doubled in size. Luckily, our lot size at .5 acres complied with the new chicken ordinance in Norcross. Our lot is also situated in such a way that it allowed us to position the chicken coop that houses the chicks about 40’ from the next closest property line and over 200’ from the closest house. We have also fenced in a sizable area well in excess of the ordinance to be used as the run – chickens are much happier when they have more space.
For the Coop, we wanted something spacious for the Chickens which would also allow us to have some storage space for feed and other supplies. We found a great coop builder, ChickCoopMansions.com who was able to build a custom coop to our specifications. He built the basic coop and we have been putting the final touches to it so when finished, it will look like an old Gypsy wagon.
We will be keeping the chicks in the brooder in the garage for about 2 to 3 weeks before introducing them to their new home in the coop.”
STAY TUNED to see how the girls are living it up in the gypsy coop!